Ken’s ‘holiday hotel’ for hens

Ken Rigby with one of his chickens
Ken Rigby with one of his chickens

Chicks away! A Lancashire poultry farm is offering a holiday hotel for hens while owners fly off to the sun.

Families who put Fido in the kennels and Tiddles in the cattery while they go away this summer can now give their pet pullets a five-star break too.

Pear Tree Poultry is offering board and lodgings at the area’s first “hennel” at the Barton Grange Garden Centre site at Brock. “Hens are catching on as great pets and, like cats and dogs, they need somewhere to go when their owners are away on their holidays,” said co-owner Ken Rigby.

“We are happy to spoil them. And the service is proving very popular.”

Keeping chickens in the back garden is becoming a trendy hobby says Ken, an accountant who swapped ledgers for lodgers.

“It’s not just about having aspirations for the good life, it’s because they actually make terrific pets,” he explained.

“They have all got individual characters. Children love them and they give them a greater appreciation of nature.

“Most people have a spot in the garden with enough room for a pen for three hens. You don’t need a large space as long as you can let them out in the rest of the garden at some time during the day.

“Since we started the ‘hennel’ it has proved very popular. People don’t want to leave their chickens at home with a neighbour or family member calling in to feed them every day.

“That’s a big responsibility.

“It’s like the dog or the cat, they deserve a holiday too.

“And it’s the lap of luxury for hens here. We have the expertise and the facilities to give them a good break while the owners are away. We are geared up to look after them in the right way.”

Ken set up Pear Tree Poultry with business partner Claire Scowcroft almost two years ago.

Already he has given up his accountancy work to run it full-time, with computer engineer Claire joining in when her day job allows.